This week is Neurodiversity Celebration Week, and as an employer championing a fair and inclusive workplace, one of our focus areas over the last 12 months has been to raise awareness about neurodiversity, and identify ways that Bruntwood can better support neurodivergent colleagues and candidates who want to work with us.
What is neurodiversity?
Neurodiversity describes the idea that people experience and interact with the world around them in many different ways; there’s no one "right" way of thinking, learning, and behaving, and differences are not viewed as deficits.
The number of people who are diagnosed with types of neurodivergence is increasing as more people become familiar with and aware of the different forms. The amount of Autism diagnoses has increased by 787% in the past twenty years, according to a new study published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
It is estimated that about 1 in 7 people in the UK are neurodivergent, many of whom may not have an official diagnosis. That's about 15% of the population, which means that in all likelihood one of your team, or a colleague you work with closely, may be neurodivergent.
We should all take the time to find out more about different working types and styles, and consider how we can work more effectively and productively.
Neurodiversity at Bruntwood
Not everyone wants, or needs, to have an official diagnosis for neurodivergent conditions, and at Bruntwood you don’t need to have one to be able to access the support we have on offer.
These are just some of things we’ve developed over the last year to improve our ways of working for neurodivergent colleagues:
We’ve added in more prompts and opportunities for candidates to tell us if they need any adjustments to help them to perform at their best throughout our recruitment process;
We are working with the Growth Company to explore offering work trials for candidates who may have a disability or neurodivergence;
We have introduced Reasonable Adjustment Passports to help people explore and keep track of what works for them;
We are offering a rolling programme of Disability Awareness Training for all colleagues;
We have new e-learning about neurodiversity and a dedicated Hub within our internal comms and engagement platform.
We also know that a number of colleagues will be supporting children who are neurodivergent, and securing a diagnosis can be an important step in getting your child the support they need at school.
So, alongside a new neurodiversity support network for colleagues, we have a Carers Community and Carers Policy, which provides for 5 days’ paid leave to support colleagues with caring responsibilities such as appointments with their children.
We’re constantly looking for ways to evolve and improve our approach to neurodiversity in the workplace, prioritising how we engage with colleagues to refine our outlook.
Peter Hinde, Customer Operations Manager and Diversity & Inclusion Ally, said: “Neurodiversity should be looked on as a strength as it brings a different perspective into the business”
“Bruntwood continues to work hard to engage and support Neurodiverse colleagues while making improvements to our recruitment to embrace the future neurodiverse young adults coming into the workplace.”
Neurodiversity Celebration Week is a crucial opportunity to remember that the workplace should be welcoming and accessible for everyone; to read more about why this is so important to us, see here.